We spent two days at the campground, hanging out with Dave and letting the horses rest. We got up in the mornings to the smell of bacon, potatoes, and dutch oven biscuits. We spent time visiting around the camp fire, then Dave would take his horses out for a ride while we spent time fixing our gear, patching our jeans, and trimming horse feet. Dinner was steaks and other yummy stuff, followed by more campfire visiting, then collapsing into the sleeping bags – pre-heated by a generator-run space heater inside Dave’s wall tent! What luxury!
Dave, a real cowboy, told us many entertaining stories of his years wrangling cows, training horses, and packing mules. He told us about when he was taking mules down the Grande Canyon and how every once in a while, one would fall off the edge and get killed. They even had one that would regularly walk with half of his hoof off the edge! Supposedly, they’ve never lost a tourist over the edge with a mule, but it makes me think twice about wanting to do that ride! Dave also shared stories about when he worked for a cattle ranch and how they would go out into the mountains and rope the wild cows out there. I never knew before this trip, but there are wild cows just the same as there are wild horses. They are fierce and vicious when cornered or captured and they are not afraid to use their horns against you and your horse! I never imagined cows to be so aggressive- many cowboys have been killed by them! The cows I grew up with were pretty mellow. Occasionally they would butt you around with their heads or the bulls could charge at you. But not like these cows- they would come at you, gore your horse, then gore you if they could. They were fast, athletic, and unrelenting. Sounds like it was pretty crazy and dangerous, but it gave the cowboys quite a thrill!
On one of our many walks up the road to check on our horses out grazing with their hobbles on, we found them in the campground. We were trying to keep them out since we didn’t know if they were supposed to be in there and we didn’t want to risk any outrageous fines. The hobbles are just a suggestion to our horses, and sometimes they decide they are going where they want to go- hobbles or not. We had them across the river from the campground and had roped off an area of easy access to cross the river. They (well- probably Satchmo) decided to break through the rope and snap the tree (about 3 inches in diameter!) so they could cross to the campground- where apparently, the grass was greener. Large rocks, deep water, steep banks, hobbles- they’re no obstacles for our horses!
So when we went to check on them, we found them in the campground and were starting to shoo them back to the bridge. Just then, a man in a truck who had just arrived yelled out the window, “you don’t have to move them on account of me!” That was pretty nice- so I decided to go over and talk to him. He was a local and was picking up his brother who had been out hunting all day. We visited for a while, then he invited us to come to his house to rest some more since Dave was leaving in the morning. Done! He didn’t have to twist our arms- it was COLD out!